Speaking: How Fast Talkers can Slow their Speech for Greater Positive Impact-Part 1 (Breathing)
Fast talkers can slow their rate of speech to make greater positive impacts on their audiences. One of our followers at Master Your Accent recently asked “What recommendations do you have to slow down the tempo of speech. I have been told multiple times that I speak too quickly when giving speeches.” It’s a question that comes up frequently, and this follower’s request spurred me to write an article on this topic.
Tips for Slowing your Rate of Speech
Here are some quick tips for slowing your rate of speech to make a greater impact.
Focus on Breathing
Focusing on your breathing will help you slow your rate of speech to make a greater impact. Simply making it a goal to pause for a breath can prove to slow your speech down. It’s simple, yet helpful. Ultimately, focusing on breathing results in more relaxation. When you’re more relaxed, your audience or communication partners will be able to relate to you more personally. You then open the door to form connections and therefore build a foundation for your relationship with your communication partner.
Abdomino-thoracic Breathing Benefits
Abdominal-thoracic breathing simply means belly-chest breathing. Speech breathing is comprised of using your abdomen as well as your chest. By using both, you maximize the space in your torso for your lungs to expand. When your lungs are sufficiently filled with air, you’re able to efficiently speak without forcing your speech. This type of breathing will facilitate a relaxed feeling yet provide sufficient breath support for speaking.
Abdomino-thoracic Breathing Steps
Many speakers, especially when nervous, inhale from their chests. Focus on how your abdomen goes inward as you’re expelling your air while you’re speaking. Take a breath in and feel your abdomen expand outward. To make this easier, try breathing in and out with your belly/abdomen without speaking; simply letting your body inhale and exhale. If you have difficulty doing this, lye on the floor. Gravity will hold your shoulders down and prevent you from breathing too much in your chest and not enough with your abdomen expanding and contracting.
Habitual Breathing Patterns
You may even explore your habitual or present breath pattern. If you feel the need to breathe quickly, do so, in order to increase your awareness of your body sensations during your breathing. Let your body tense up and relax. Notice where you hold tension-in your shoulders, abdomen, chest, arms, fists, mouth, face, jaw. Experiment with fast rates of breathing and slower rates of breathing. Tense your body parts and relax them. Move them freely to increase the neural input to your brain during this process of getting in touch with your breathing patterns.
Conscientious abdomino-thoracic breathing is an effective way to increase relaxation, slow your rate of speech, and ultimately connect to your communication partners with more impact. Increasing your awareness of how your body breathes, where you feel tension and sensation, and how often you inhale and exhale can prove to increase your relaxation. As a result, you can decrease your rate of speech.
To your increased awareness of your breathing pattern as a tool for relaxation,